Unemployed  ©  Rob Milsom |Flickr
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May Unemployment Report for Workers Over 55

Without the Choice to Retire, Unemployment Exacts High Psychological Costs on Older Workers

The Department of Labor’s monthly unemployment report released today shows  an unemployment rate of 3.4% for workers over the age of 55. The unemployment rate has decreased from 3.6% last month to 3.4%, a decrease of 0.2 percentage points.

In addition to imposing a financial cost on older workers, unemployment can also impose a psychological cost. The unemployed are not unemployed by choice. And being deprived of choice creates a feeling of helplessness. According to the Health and Retirement Study (HRS), a nationally representative study of older Americans, unemployed respondents were more likely than both workers and retirees their same age to report a general feeling of helplessness. Among 55 to 64-year-olds, 40% of the unemployed agreed with the statement, …

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